Wondering which dyslexia tools for high school students are the best? Read on to learn how assistive technology is changing special education.
High school can be difficult for many students, especially those with dyslexia. The demanding curriculum requires a high level of participation, which isn’t always possible for dyslexic students struggling with reading, writing, or speech.
Fortunately, dyslexic learners can rely on assistive technology to improve their academic performance and thrive in the modern classroom. Read on to learn how assistive tools like audiobooks and TTS apps can help those with dyslexia keep up with their high school peers.
What is dyslexia?
Dyslexia is a disorder that negatively impacts a person’s writing and reading skills. But it can also significantly affect a person’s overall literacy skills, which is why experts often classify dyslexia as a learning disability.
The most common features of the condition are lower phonological awareness, poorer verbal memory, and slower verbal processing. Consequently, dyslexic children and adults are often struggling readers.
Children can exhibit signs of dyslexia and other learning disabilities as early as middle school. They typically struggle with:
- Completing phonic tasks
- Singing or reciting the alphabet
- Speech development
Early diagnosis can prevent future problems with literacy skills. Parents and teachers who notice learning differences between a child and their peers should consider a professional assessment. A Diagnostic Assessment can determine whether a child has dyslexia. However, typically only children older than seven can undergo the evaluation.
How does dyslexia affect high school students?
High school tasks are more complex than decoding unfamiliar words, competing exercises in phonics, and dictations. Thus, learners with dyslexia feel overwhelmed and often fall behind in their studies.
Here’s how dyslexia affects high school students:
- Difficulty organizing and expressing ideas
- Difficulty learning a foreign language
- Trouble understanding hidden meanings in puns and jokes
Additionally, this disability can drastically impact a person’s self-esteem. Despite receiving a diagnosis, they may feel that their overall study skills are inferior to those of their peers.
As they watch friends quickly skim through reading material, they might feel embarrassed they have to read aloud. But with great resources like assistive technology, reading comprehension, spelling, and writing are less challenging for dyslexic learners.
Tools for dyslexic students
Traditional studying methods like note-taking, phonetic flashcards, and study guides aren’t always helpful for dyslexic students. Fortunately, companies have started developing tools to help those with learning disabilities and special education students reach academic milestones.
Text to speech apps
Text to speech (TTS) apps are full of advanced features that process digital text and read it aloud.
Although there are many advanced options on the market, solutions like Speechify are the best solution for dyslexic students. These programs are compatible with multiple devices, from Apple products like MacBooks and iPhones to Android tablets. Furthermore, learners can listen to Word documents, PDF files, and web pages and select natural-sounding voices and their optimal reading pace.
This technology is especially beneficial for learners with a 504 plan or Individualized Education Program (IEP). It combines hearing with seeing, improving concentration and reading comprehension.
Audiobooks are another invaluable resource for students with learning disabilities like dyslexia or dysgraphia. Listening to audiobooks promotes student progress by bolstering word recognition, building vocabulary, boosting fluency, and improving comprehension skills.
Furthermore, they allow high school students to explore different topics and broaden their interests in their spare time. With a few clicks on their iPad, high schoolers can listen to an engaging audiobook come to life. Educators have also started providing special education students with audiobooks for assigned reading tasks.
Spell check software
Bad spellers often complain that traditional spellcheckers aren’t suitable for people with dyslexia. Despite the word prediction features, they struggle to identify the correct option.
But that’s not the case with newer assistive technology. Modern spellcheckers analyze the context of the writing and suggest the most accurate corrections. Some may even have inbuilt read-aloud features that help people double-check the corrected words.
Smartpens are innovative products that take the hassle out of note-taking. They come with special paper and allow students to record notes and audio from lectures. High schoolers with dyslexia can upload their notes to their computer, select a specific word, and listen to the recording from the class from that point forward. The smartpen uses ink in a different color when you upload additional notes.
Not only are smartpens helpful for dyslexic learners, but they’re also an excellent tool for students with dysgraphia. This condition primarily impacts handwriting, so using a smartpen can make note-taking less overwhelming.
Voice recognition software
Voice recognition software has the potential to become a powerful special education aide. Dyslexic students can use it as a dictation companion. Instead of wasting time trying to write a long essay, they can narrate it to their computer or mobile device.
Moreover, it suits students with dysgraphia who have difficulty completing writing tasks.
Professionals recommend that all students use mind maps to break down complex topics and flesh out their ideas. But for dyslexic children, mind mapping has additional benefits.
Since many dyslexic learners enjoy creative activities, they can use simple drawings and colorful symbols in their note-taking and study guides.
Mind maps are a great revision tool because students can improve memory recall by connecting relevant information to simple drawings. When they glance at a flashcard with a small map, they’ll remember a specific concept in great detail.
Some learners prefer to use web-based mind mapping software for a paper-free experience.
Speechify – A TTS reader for dyslexic students
While many different types of assistive technology are changing the special education classroom, text to speech apps like Speechify are arguably the most beneficial for dyslexic students. The Speechify software is easy to use and highly customizable.
Learners can use it to turn digital text into audiobooks and choose from a wide range of natural-sounding voices for narration. They can speed up the narration pace if they want to boost their productivity.
Speechify is also perfect for on-the-go learning since it’s available for iOS and Android devices. Try it today and see why its advanced features are a game-changer for students with learning disabilities.
How can I help my dyslexic teenager?
If your child has an IEP or a 504 plan, talk to their special education teacher about the best ways to improve their study skills. They might recommend at-home activities that will help overcome learning challenges.
How can I help my dyslexic teenager with their homework?
Homework in high school usually involves a lot of reading, which can overwhelm dyslexic learners. To make the experience stress-free, consider using a text to speech app like Speechify.
What disability does dyslexia fall under?
The Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) classifies dyslexia as a specific learning disability (SLD).
What can a teacher do to help a dyslexic student?
Teachers should create a supportive classroom environment and implement activities that address the learning differences of dyslexic students.